How to visit Sugarloaf Mountain | Rio de Janeiro by Cariocas (2024)

How to visit Sugarloaf Mountain

  • Post author:Monique Martins
  • Post last modified:September 14, 2023

Sugarloaf Mountain, known as Pão de açúcar in Portuguese, is one of the most iconic landmarks of Rio de Janeiro. It is famous worldwide for itscablewayand panoramic views of the city and beyond.

Undoubtedly, visiting this natural monument is a must-do while visiting the city. Therefore, we have prepared a complete guide on how to visit Sugarloaf Mountain.

The mountain

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Rising 396m (1,299ft) above the Guanabara Bay, the 600-million-year-old mountain is protected by theSugarloaf Mountain and Urca Hill Natural Monument, created in 2006. It is also aWorld Heritage Sitedeclared byUNESCOin 2012.

The name of the mountain has many theories. One of them is that, during the heyday ofsugarcanetrade in Brazil, blocks of sugar used to be placed in conical molds to be transported on ships.The form of the peak reminded a “sugarloaf” shape.

How to get to Sugarloaf Mountain

Sugarloaf Mountain is located in the historic Urca district, where Rio de Janeiro was founded on March 1, 1565.

Urca is a small charming neighborhood between Botafogo and Leme in the South Zone of the town.

In addition to being the starting point for the climb to Sugarloaf Mountain, the neighborhood is home to other attractions such as Forte de São João (St. John Fort) and Praia Vermelha, one of the most beautiful beaches in the city.

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Carioca Tip:

After visiting Sugarloaf, a nice option to end your day is to walk to Mureta da Urca (Urca Wall) to have a drink and eat a Brazilian snack. The place is a traditional happy hour spot of the locals and one of the 10 unmissable things to do in the city.

Only one street gives access to the neighborhood, and you can get there by public bus, car, or subway + integration bus in Botafogo station.

When you get to Urca, there are three different ways to reach the top of Sugarloaf mountain:

1. Bondinho do Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Cable car)

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The first and most popular one is to take the “Bondinho do Pão de Açúcar” cable car.

Inaugurated in 1912, it was the first Brazilian cableway and the third in the world, linking the Urca hill to the Sugarloaf mountain.

The cable car leaves from the ground station in Praia Vermelha and runs along a 1,400-meter route to Pão de Açúcar, with a stop at Morro da Urca, a smaller peak that nestles between the two points.

The bubble-shaped cable car provides 360-degree views of the city through its glass walls and roof, and the ascent takes a total of six minutes, allowing plenty of time to capture some beautiful images.

From the top of the two mountains, you will have incredible views of the city landscape, including the Botafogo cave, Copacabana edge, and the entrance of Guanabara Bay. During summer or special events in the city, the amphitheater located in Urca hill is a stage for shows and night events, joining fun and a fantastic visual of lights of the city.

The cars run every 20 minutes and are open daily, from 8:30 am to 8 pm. You can buy your ticket here.

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Carioca Tip:

The best time to visit Sugarloaf Mountain and avoid crowds is early or late afternoon to see the sunset, which we highly recommend. The view of the city lighting up is amazing!

* Sugarloaf Bondinho Tour: 520 Pasteur Avenue – Urca, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 22290-240.

2. Hiking

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The second option is a way to visit the attraction for free, that is, without having to pay for the cable car: going up a hidden trail.

The trail starts at the left corner of Praia Vermelha beach, at Claudio Coutinho track road.

The path is popular among Cariocas, who jog here often. Along the way, the visitor walks surrounded by the sea on one side and Morro da Urca on the other and can see native trees such as redwood and fig trees. Wild animals, such as marmosets and birds Tiê-blood – the bird symbol of the Atlantic Forest, can also often be seen. The Morro da Urca Hike entrance is along the track, on the left.

The trail is well-maintained, signposted, and easy to hike, but it’s cut out of a steep hillside. The average time is 30 – 40 minutes, depending on your pace and physical condition.

Arriving at Morro da Urca, the adventurer has the option to buy tickets to go up to Sugarloaf mountain or back down to Praia Vermelha. You can also go hiking on the same path if you prefer.

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Carioca Tip:

For those who hike up by the trail, the attraction offers a small discount on the ticket to visit Sugarloaf Mountain. You can buy the ticket at the totems near the tram square with a credit card.

* Claudio Coutinho Track: Praça General Tiburcio, 125 – Urca – Rio de Janeiro – RJ
Open daily, from 6 am to 6 pm.


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The third option is for the more adventurous travelers.

Morro da Urca andPão de Açúcarare the two most popular rock climbing spots in the city and in the world, known for their breathtaking views and varying levels of difficulty. There are about 270 different routes to discover in the area.

The easiest route is Costão, which is recommended for beginners. There are other more challenging routes, such as Italianos, Coringa, or Secundo, that have more vertical challenges and will satisfy the more experienced climbers.

There are plenty ofguided toursthat accompany all levels of climbers and also rent out equipment to those wanting to go solo. We can help you with this adventure! Send us a message, and we will organize everything for you.

Ready to visit Sugarloaf Mountain?

Regardless of your choice on how to visit sugarloaf mountain, we hope you enjoy our tips of this iconic natural monument, which is one of the best attractions in the Marvelous city!

How about getting to know this iconic attraction in a very carioca way?

Book our experience, “Sugarloaf Hike and Happy Hour with Locals” to visit this attraction with a friendly local tour guide and finish your day in a local Happy Hour spot while admiring a stunning sunset.


Are you seeking accommodation in Rio de Janeiro? Explore our comprehensive guide Where to stay in Rio de Janeiro and effortlessly book your ideal hotel here.

If you require any assistance in planning your visitor would like to have acustomized itinerary for your trip, contact us! Our local expert team is dedicated to making your journey to Rio de Janeiro memorable.

Discover our privatelocal experiences, designed to provide an authentic insight into Rio de Janeiro’s vibrant culture. Immerse yourself in the city’s local way of life and experience Rio de Janeiro like a true local.

Monique Martins

Carioca from Madureira. Co-founder, bachelor in tourism since 2004, tour guide and content producer for Rio by Cariocas. She loves samba and exploring every corner of the city. She writes about lifestyle, music, nightlife and outdoor activities.

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How to visit Sugarloaf Mountain | Rio de Janeiro by Cariocas (2024)
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